Selecting an Officiant
Memorable Weddings
The Family Medallion
Interfaith Ceremonies


New England's Most Popular Justice of the Peace/Clergy

Selecting a Wedding Officiant
by Honorable Reverend Dennis James Robinson
Massachusetts Officiant A number of families visualize a wedding ceremony taking place in a church or synagogue, with no exceptions.  This is certainly stereotypic of most marriages many years ago and a large number of weddings now, but the times are changing and so are the types of ceremonies couples are choosing.
The antithesis, or sharp contrast, to the traditional view is watching a Justice of the Peace, the bride, the groom, and the entire wedding party jump from an airplane at 4,000 feet, free fall another 2,000 feet, and then exchange vows before opening parachutes and floating to the ground as husband and wife.  These are images that most officiants (myself included) are attempting to alleviate from public perception.
A Justice of the Peace, or clergy, can be an important part of a wedding ceremony if you select the right one for you.  Many individuals may not get married in traditional settings for one reason or another.  A good officiant can make your day very special because of the flexibility he or she has in arranging the ceremony. Massachusetts wedding
My favorite wedding ceremony is probably the Jewish-Christian ceremony.  When articulately prepared, it can encompass some of the most wonderful traditions of each culture and religion.  The typical ceremony is about one-half hour long and can incorporate such modalities as an ecumenical prayer, the exchange of vows, and the drinking of the wine ceremony with a prayer in Hebrew and in English, the stepping on the glass, and the lighting of the unity candle (where one candle represents the individuality of the bride and the other, the individuality of the groom).  The candles also represent the merging of two into one, but remaining individual.  It is my usual custom to mention that although you have mutual as well as individual interests, these two outer candles represent your individuality, but now unite your lives, your hearts, and your families into one by lighting the center candle.
Massachusetts Officiant Probably the newest ceremony tradition is the presentation of roses to the families of the bride and groom.  Roses represent the nurturing from our parents, so the bride and groom use them to thank their parents for all the love and guidance they have given them over the years.  This delivery can be modified by adding grandparents for all the love and guidance they have given them over the years, the person who introduced the couple, or even all women as they enter the chapel or ceremony site.
Wedding vows are such an important part of a ceremony, and you should be offered at least 20 vows from which to choose.  Some priests, ministers and rabbis are extremely traditional, however, and an uninformed bride and groom may not know that they can change the vows.  For instance, how about "I take you to be my wife and my best friend," or replacing "till death do us part" with "Always and forever."
Many traditional officiants and uneducated justices will not attend rehearsals.  This can be the biggest travesty of the wedding, as it leads to an atmosphere of chaos in the minutes before the actual wedding.
The person who performs the ceremony should run the rehearsal from start to finish.  Having one person leading the rehearsal can be very helpful in eliminating pre-wedding stress.  This person will be able to tell you how the wedding party should stand, the pace at which the bridesmaids should enter, who should hold the bride's flowers during the vows, how the ushers should unroll the aisle runner, how the bride and her father should proceed, and what everyone should do with their hands during the ceremony.  By refusing to do a rehearsal, the officiant either does not care or is not well trained in running such an event.  (Remember, the officiant should be compensated for his or her attendance or lack of attendance at the rehearsal.) Honorable Reverend Dennis James Robinson
Often, the engaged couple mistakenly thinks everyone performs the same ceremony during a marriage, and they do not bother to compare the different types of services offered.  The couple should also make sure the officiant is willing to perform the ceremony in the location they request.
It is important to find out what the officiant will be wearing for the occasion.  If you are planning a formal wedding and all are in tuxedos, the officiant should be, too.  He should also wear a robe.  This adds ambiance and neutrality to the ceremony.
Massachusetts Officiant Finally, your wedding day is the most important day of your life. Talk to different officiants before you select one.  Ask if you can observe a ceremony they are performing in a public place.  If they will not let you watch, chances are they have something to hide.  Remember, price can vary from justice to clergy, depending on prenuptial conferences, rehearsal, and so on.  Try to find someone who will get involved in your plans.  These individuals are usually the people who will care the most about your special day.  Ceremonies are not very long, but fond memories last forever.
Other Articles:
Memorable Weddings, Blunders, Bloopers & Mishaps
The Family Medallion - Everybody Got Married
Interfaith Ceremonies
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Honorable Reverend Dennis James Robinson
New England's Most Popular Justice of the Peace/Clergy
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